Forget how awkward a certain incident on The View was for co-hosts Joy Behar and Sherri Shepherd last week, imagine what it was like backstage.
As Rosie O’Donnell and Elisabeth Hasselbeck exchanged words, things were rather awkward for the guests in the greenroom.
“All four of us were at a loss,” Dancing with the Stars‘ Maksim Chmerkovskiy told People magazine of his time waiting out the argument with dance partner Laila Ali and fellow stars Joey Fatone and Kym Johnson. “It was a straight-up brawl.”
Chmerkovskiy says the guests had been warned by View staffers that the show could get “intense” — and it quickly did. “At first everyone was sort of laughing, [like,] ‘See, I told you it gets intense.’ Then it was like, Okay maybe it’s one of those very intense ones.”
“But people were still giggling. But then it became a fight between [Rosie O’Donnell] and Elisabeth.”
At the commercial break, Chmerkovskiy recalls stone-faced View employees running out of the room to deal with the fallout. Actress Alicia Silverstone, who was also in the greenroom, was not happy that her segment was next: “She was like, ‘I don’t want to go on now.’ She had one of those hyperventilating moments where she was like, ‘Okay, I’m really nervous.'”
Probably similar to how Tessa Horst when felt Andy Baldwin got down on one knee – but for very different reasons.
But the show went on, and Chmerkovskiy and Ali performed their dance without incident. “It was like nothing had happened,” he says. “I thought great, this must be a normal day at The View.”
Of course, it was far from it. Sources O’Donnell was genuinely upset by the bickering on the day she now refers to as “nuclear Wednesday.”
But she’s now at peace with it and “doesn’t second-guess her decision at all,” says O’Donnell’s lifelong friend Jackie Ellard. “In fact, I’m sure she’s sleeping better than she has in a long time.”
And certainly better than Paris Hilton will in jail.